iPad or not iPad?

iPad 2 adYesterday, Apple launched the iPad 2. Depending on whose reaction you read, this is either the most important event in the history of mankind, or just a minor upgrade to what is already a pretty good product.

What caught my eye, though, wasn’t all the improvements that have been made (iPad 2 is faster/lighter/thinner/has cameras) but the £100 drop in price of the original models.

We’re going to Ireland for a family wedding later in the year, and had been investigating in-car DVD players to keep Heather entertained en route. We very quickly came to the conclusion that it would be an expensive purchase for something that will only be used once in a blue moon, but that it would ultimately be worth it.

And then I had an idea.

For a long time Gem has dreamt of a touchscreen computer she could use in the kitchen. For someone who cooks – and in more recent times, bakes too – it would be more convenient than printing recipes off the internet, not to mention better for the environment! For years now, we’ve been monitoring the cost of touchscreen devices as they’ve become more mainstream and more affordable, although still not cheap either.

So, my idea was to buy a tablet computer that could be used to play movies and/or games in the car – objective #1 – but could also be used in the kitchen – objective #2. Yes, it’s going to be more expensive than a DVD player, but if we get more use out of it, that makes it better value, right?

This was the tail end of 2010, as decent Android tablets started to appear on the market. Only trouble is that with one or two exceptions (Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak, neither of which had as big a screen as we’d like) there was nothing to actually hold and play with. No sign of an Archos 101 or Advent VEGA, which were the two tablets that caught my eye. And I’m not going to part with hundreds of pounds for something I’ve not had a chance to try out.

So we waited. And waited. And, um, waited. And now the iPad 2 has come along. Which is still above the £200-300 price range we’ve set ourselves, but it has caused the price of the entry level iPad 1 to drop to £329, which I think we could stretch to, and I have no doubt we’d be happy with that.

I also know, however, thata slew of new Android tablets are coming in the next few months. Whether they’ll be any good at our price point, or come along in time for our road trip, is a different question. And there isn’t much information about yet, on which to base any kind of decision.

So here’s our dilemma: we’re definitely going to buy something, so do we pick up a discounted iPad 1 while stocks last, or wait another month or two in the hope that an Android device comes along that fits our basic requirement (> 7″ screen, plays music/video, web browser, no 3G or cameras required) and that we can actually get our hands on, the risk being that nothing does and we end up splashing out on something off spec.

Of course, winning an iPad in Why Settle‘s prize draw would make it an easy decision!

Comments/suggestions welcome…

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

5 thoughts on “iPad or not iPad?

  1. Now that I have read your post rather than just commenting on facebook.

    We have an iPad and to be honest wouldn’t see the need to have the new one, that is not to say that we might not end up getting one. I would say that for £329 it is good value for the money, will be exactly what Gem needs and will keep the kids quiet in the car. You could also stream some Redskin game to it too, so its a win, win, win situation

    Also cheers for the plug, I will sneak you in an extra entry

    • Agree with all of the above. Can’t shake the feeling that buying an iPad 1 would be buying outdated tech, but I think that’s just Apple marketing swaying me. If I was buying a PC I would choose based on my requirements and the price I was prepared to pay, rather than automatically going for the top of the range, and thinking in those terms pretty much makes it a no-brainer.

  2. The Apple marketing machine strikes again. I have an iPod from about 4 years ago, it still does what I want it to do. The iPad 2 will be old tech this time next year. That’s the Apple way

  3. You should go for the iPad 1 at £100 off. You won’t be disappointed with that. And as you already have an iPhone in the family, any universal apps you have bought can be installed on the iPad too. Another option is to find someone who is selling their iPad 1 so they can get their hands on an iPad 2. I’m sure there will be a few. Not me though, iPad 1 is enough for me for now.

    • Cheers, Mike.

      That’s what we’re going to do – if we don’t win one first, that is. We did consider the secondhand option, and there will undoubtedly be someone I know looking to sell and upgrade, but there’s not enough saving on the brand-new price to make it worthwhile.

Leave a Reply